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Information, Technology, and Governance: A Grand Challenges Research Agenda

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Publications & Results
Reports (3)
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In February 2010, a group of leading social and information scientists and government practitioners came together to develop a new understanding of the way technology and social forces shape the workings of government. The workshop—Information, Technology, and Governance: A Grand Challenges Research Agenda—was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from the National Association of Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). The Center for Technology in Government (CTG) at the University at Albany led the organizing effort of this two-day workshop with over 40 participants from across the country. This document presents a non-attribution account of the contributions made at the workshop as well as a brief analysis of the discussions and findings. The information presented in this report begins to shed light on complexities of identifying and addressing grand challenges in information, technology, and governance.

This paper argues for a dedicated, social science-based research program to address the question “How do the societal context and institutional character of government interact with emerging information and communication technologies to shape the capabilities and performance of the public sector?” The ability to answer this question can only result from non-domain specific research that studies the societal context of government and the information resources and technologies affecting government. Because of government’s inherent complexity and unique role as the leader in addressing the world’s grand societal challenges, there is an urgent need to understand the practice context of government and how it influences the policy, management, and organizational political, and public factors that shape information use and IT applications. Currently there is a lack of research on the public sector and while there are devoted resources to government areas there is little scientific attention to the government organizations and processes that are both the sources and customers of the programs. With focus on this cross-cutting research, government can improve its capacity to serve society and researchers can seek opportunities for new theory development that links government context to the fundamental questions of organizational and technical action.

Information, Technology, and Governance: A Grand Challenges Research Agenda was a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation to craft a multi-year research program to address the grand challenges of government and governance in an environment of rapidly evolving social and technical change. The key event in the project was a workshop that brought together leaders from social and information science research and government to explore these grand challenge questions and develop a next generation research agenda, with a particular focus on socio-organizational contexts. The Pre-Workshop Paper was used to begin discussion on the issues.